Former France president grilled for suspected witness tampering and fraud case

Former France president

PARIS (Reuters): Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was placed under formal investigation on Friday for suspected witness tampering and fraud, as part of a probe into whether he received illegal Libyan funding for his successful 2007 election campaign.

Sarkozy, due to go on trial in 2025 over the accusations he illegally accepted the Libyan funds, has always denied wrongdoing. His lawyers could not be immediately reached for comment.

In the latest investigation, Sarkozy is accused of interfering with a witness and criminal association with a view to committing fraud, a spokesperson for prosecutors said.

Sarkozy had been questioned by a judge since Tuesday in a probe launched in May 2021, after French-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine gave media interviews retracting an earlier account that he had delivered Libyan funds to help Sarkozy.

Sarkozy, who remains an important figure in French politics although he no longer holds any elected post, has always denied the accusations.

“There’s not even the smallest inkling of proof,” he said in an interview in 2018.

The conservative former president, in office from 2007 to 2012, could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted in the case. He is also fighting various other legal cases.

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